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THE CUTTING EDGE

Monday June 24 2019

LOSS ON TRACK: Often touted as the Jubilee government’s greatest single achievement, construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) is becoming a huge burden that could turn out to be a white elephant, warns Allan Kipchirchir Koech, faulting the officials’ failure to factor in the massive maintenance costs before its commissioning. After nearly two years of operation, Allan moans, there is hardly any indication of when it could make its first profit. “In fact, the SGR is making huge losses, with all the revenue now going into its maintenance. It’s obvious it is going to take a while to repay the huge Chinese loan.” His contact is [email protected]

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DOUBTFUL PROJECT: As the SGR challenges unravel, causing serious doubts about the project, Stephen Abuga is even more convinced that the authorities should have upgraded the old meter gauge railway that almost runs parallel to the new one running diesel trains instead of the more efficient electric trains. Another blot on the SGR, he adds, is rampant corruption with inflated compensation for the land acquired for the railway line from Nairobi to Naivasha and delayed payments, hugely inconveniencing the landowners. His contact is [email protected]

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ILLEGAL STRUCTURES: At a time when Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has directed that all the buildings in the city be repainted, the height of irony is that illegal temporary structures are coming up in the residential estates almost every week, remarks a disappointed Frank Laurence. In the Nairobi South ‘B’ area, Frank adds, a storeyed bar/nightclub is being built by someone who claims to be well-connected at City Hall. “To add insult to injury, another building has been erected on the sidewalk of the link road between Likoni Road and the Southern Bypass.” If the governor cannot stop such illegal structures, then Frank is not impressed with his order on repainting. His contact is [email protected]

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PASSPORT PAIN: Obtaining the brand new digital passport has become a nightmare for the applicants as the deadline approaches, says Elly Nyaim Opot. He cannot understand why the Department of Immigration, under the Interior ministry, is “hell-bent on inflicting maximum pain” on Kenyans seeking the travel document. With tales of people queuing at Nyayo House, Nairobi, from as early as 1am and others literally sleeping outside the Immigration headquarters, Elly adds, this creates an avenue for bribery. His contact is [email protected]

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SUKUMA WIKI: As a child growing up in town many years ago, Patrick Majanja recalls the most common vegetable that would be cooked in many homes, kale, came to be popularly known as “sukuma wiki” (Kiswahili for, literally, that which pushes the week as the daily family meal). Says he: “I think this name came about because our parents could only provide beef or fish after several weeks as they could not afford those delicacies. The kale was supposed to ‘push the weeks’ until end of the month, when most people could afford some meat.” He is, therefore, curious to know whether this vegetable had another Kiswahili name. His contact is [email protected]

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ARMS DEALER: Driving along Uhuru Highway, Nairobi, in broad daylight last Saturday, Isaac Sila says, he was shocked to come across a hawker brazenly displaying “a complete set of a small arsenal that comprised some small axes, swords, pangas and knives, and all these meant for arming the people, judging from their small sizes”. He poses: “Where are the security agents to arrest this bold hawker before he sells these weapons to dangerous criminals who will harm innocent people?” His contact is[email protected]

Have a safe day, won’t you!